The Indigenous rights suporters begin their march. Photo by Mike Chouinard

Courtenay marchers show support for Indigenous rights

Group starts in front of MLA’s office before heading down 5th Street

Supporters of Gitxsan and Wet’suwet’en First Nations took to the streets in downtown Courtenay Saturday afternoon.

They gathered outside Courtenay-Comox MLA Ronna-Rae Leonard’s office with drums and placards to send a message to the province about Indigenous rights and protecting natural resources.

The First Nations have been at the centre of a battle over aboriginal title in B.C., particularly in the face of what they see as threats from projects such as the Coastal GasLink project.

RELATED STORY: Gas pipeline proceeds along with Wet’suwet’en talks, B.C. minister says

Local Elder Verna Flanders was one of several people who spoke and marched to show support for all First Nations and the environment.

“We’re going to stand for our own people,” she said. “They need to see us, they need to hear us.”

She spoke about the need to protect the world around her such as the trees, salmon and other parts of the ecosystem.

Others who spoke touched on the rights of Indigenous people as recognized internationally, as well as the roles played in large mega-projects by institutions such as banks and senior government. They also talked about what they view as a misguided investment in resources such as LNG pipeline and the Site C Dam.

The group of at least 30 people then marched along 5th Street toward the bridge, playing drums, chanting and waving signs.

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The marchers walked down 5th Street Saturday afternoon. Photo by Mike Chouinard

The marchers walked down 5th Street Saturday afternoon. Photo by Mike Chouinard

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